The inaugural meeting of the Portsmouth District of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild was held on Jan. 28th at St. Mary’s Church, when over 60 members were present from Alverstoke, Bramshott, Bishop’s Waltham, Catherington, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, North Stoneham, Petersfield, Portsmouth (St. Thomas’ and St. Mary’s), Southampton, and Wickham, as well as visitors from King’s Somborne and Mr. H. Barton (Ventnor).

Ringing took place on the peal of eight until 4.30 p.m., when a service was held in the church, at which the Archdeacon of Portsmouth (the Ven. H. N. Rodgers) addressed the members, and was assisted in the conduct of the service by the Revs. A. G. E. Munson and R. B. Brown, of St. Mary’s. The Archdeacon based his address on two of the objects of the Guild - (1) The recognition of the true position of ringers as church workers, and (2) the promotion of ringing for divine service. At the close of the service, at which Mr. D. C. Williams, F.R.C.O. (Millbrook), presided at the organ, the assembly adjourned to the Parish Institute, where an excellent tea awaited them.

At the business meeting which followed, the Archdeacon took the chair, supported by the Master (Mr. G. Williams), the general secretary (Mr. G. Pullinger), the district secretary pro. tem. (Mr. F. W. Rogers), etc., the Secretary read the list of towers which had been placed in the new Portsmouth district, viz., Alverstoke, Curdridge, East Meon, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Petersfield, Portsmouth (St. Thomas’ and St. Mary’s), Soberton, and West Meon (eight-bell towers); Bishop’s Waltham, Bramshott, Catherington, Hambledon, Shedfield, Swanmore, Titchfield, Wickham and Warnford (six-bell towers); Buriton and Steep (five-bell towers). The Secretary said that all the towers had affiliated to the Guild except Soberton, Warnford, and Buriton.

The election of district officers resulted as follows: Chairman, Mr. R. J. Stone; secretary, Mr. F. W. Rogers; auditor, Mr. H. G. Reynolds; representatives on Central Committee, Messrs. F. A. Burnett and R. J. Stone.

Several new members were elected, including the Rector of Bramshott (the Rev. E. H. Polehampton), and eight honorary members of Wickham, Messrs. C. F. Foster (Catherington) and S. A. Bamford (Portsmouth) as full members, and two probationers from Havant and Portsea. Colonel de W. Kitcat (Gosport) was transferred from a full member to an honorary member.

It was decided to hold the next quarterly meeting at Petersfield on April 28th, when it is hoped to be able to visit both Buriton and Steep.

A discussion arose on the question of combined practices, and it was suggested that a quarterly peal should be arranged to give young ringers an opportunity to ring their first peal, applications to be made to the district secretary.

Just before the close of the meeting, the Bishop of Southampton (Dr. Boutflower) paid a visit and was warmly welcomed by the members present, to whom he addressed a few remarks.

On the proposition of the District Chairman, votes of thanks were accorded the Archdeacon for his address, to the clergy who had arranged the service, and to the organist and all who had helped to make the meeting such a success. At the conclusion handbell ringing was practised until it was convenient to visit the belfry. During the day the ringing ranged from rounds for the beginners, and included Grandsire and Stedman Triples, Bob Major, Double Norwich, Cambridge, Superlative and Norfolk Surprise Major.

The Ringing World No. 881, February 10th, 1928, page 91